WASHINGTON—The Oversight Project announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its failure to comply with a lawful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted last year by the Project seeking information about the agency’s push to implement its controversial “Climate Disclosure Rule.”
The lawsuit comes as other documents newly obtained by the Project showed that SEC officials coordinated with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office on questions and testimony ahead of a 2021 hearing on cryptocurrency markets. Read the emails here.
“The SEC is not an environmental agency, and its Climate Disclosure Rule represents an extraordinary transgression of the statutory bounds set by Congress on the agency’s power,” said Paul Ray, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Studies. “The American people deserve to understand the process that went into crafting a rule of this magnitude, especially when—as in the case of this rule—it would constitute a seismic policy shift, of the sort that under our Constitution only Congress can make.”
The Project’s lawsuit seeks documents and communications between “relevant SEC persons and: (1) any individual or entity outside the Executive Branch; (2) any individual in the Executive Office of the President; (3) any individual in an agency that is a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council; or (4) any individual in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
In the filing, the Project explains that the SEC has been stonewalling any efforts for more information about the rule, including those by Congress:
“The critiques of the Proposed Climate Change Rule appear to raise substantial questions. That alone justifies providing the public more information on the Proposed Climate Change Rule and its creation. But Plaintiffs’ FOIA Request has gone unanswered. (“Request” or Plaintiff’s FOIA Request”) (Exhibit 2). Moreover, both the Senate Banking Committee Minority and the then House Financial Services Committee Minority have asked the SEC for information regarding the Proposed Climate Change Rule to enable those Committees to evaluate it. To Plaintiffs’ knowledge they have not received anything actually responsive to those requests.”
This SEC rule would require companies across the country to disclose “climate-related information” about their organization, including their total greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from being enormously expensive for businesses, it would require them to disclose not just their emissions, but also the emissions of suppliers and customers, many of which are small businesses. Large corporations may have the budgets to comply with tracking down such information, but for most small businesses, doing so would be impossible.
For more about the Climate Disclosure Rule’s devastating consequences: The SEC Should Not Be Setting Corporate Climate Policy & The SEC’s Climate Rule Won’t Hold Up in Court
Read the filing here.